Ed Asner, whose role as the tough talking newsroom boss Lou Grant won him five of his record-setting seven Emmys on two different shows – three for Mary Tyler Moore, then two more on CBS’ Lou Grant – has died. He was 91.
Only Uzo Aduba shares the distinction of winning both comedy and drama Emmys for the same role on different shows. Asner’s seven awards makes him the male actor with the most Emmy wins ever. Julia Louis Dreyfus and the late Cloris Leachman each won eight Emmys, with Allison Janney and the late Mary Tyler Moore each winning seven.
Following his impressive Emmy run, which also included trophies for 1976’s Rich Man, Poor Man and 1977’s Roots, Asner attracted a new generation of fans in the 2009 Oscar Best Picture nominee Up. Among Asner’s more recent roles was season one of the Christina Applegate dark comedy series Dead to Me on Netflix and Olympia, the documentary about the late Olympia Dukakis.
The son of a junkman, Asner was born in 1929 in Kansas City, the youngest of five children. After a brief stint back in Kansas City selling shoes and encyclopedias after graduating from the University of Chicago, Asner joined the army, eventually ending up in New York City, where he landed a gig on Broadway.
In 1961, he moved to Los Angeles, where he developed a reputation as a character actor, which led to his iconic role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. An avowed liberal, Asner also served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1981-85.
Asner is survived by four children – Kate, twins Matthew and Liza, and Charles.